Gas House

Recognized Federal Heritage Building

Dawson, Yukon Territory
View of the Gas House, showing the large double doors with horseshoe hinges, 1988. (© Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada, 1988.)
General view
(© Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada, 1988.)
Address : Bear Creek Compound, Dawson, Yukon Territory

Recognition Statute: Treasury Board Policy on Management of Real Property
Designation Date: 1993-11-15
Dates:
  • 1946 to 1946 (Construction)

Other Name(s):
  • Building 5  (Other Name)
Custodian: Parks Canada
FHBRO Report Reference: 89-008
DFRP Number: 20008 00

Description of Historic Place

Located in the Bear Creek Compound, the Gas House, also known as Building 5, is one of a number of buildings loosely arranged around the compound’s central yard. The Gas House consists of a simple, two-storey, rectangular wood-frame structure with a one-storey lean-to sheathed in grey cove siding, white trim and corner boards, and a gable roof with roof ventilators. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.

Heritage Value

The Gas House is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.

Historical value
The Gas House is associated with the corporate phase of Klondike gold mining in the early 20th century. Built by the Yukon Consolidated Gold Company (YCGC) to produce the oxygen and acetylene used for arc welding and machinery repairs on the dredges, the Gas House is also associated with the final operational phase of the Bear Creek Compound (1941-66) during which time only a few new buildings were erected.

Architectural value
The Gas House is a good example of a purpose-designed gas-generating building. Constructed of good quality, durable materials, the level of craftsmanship is consistent with a frontier situation and a mining community that was not intended to be permanent. The utilitarian design of the Gas House is simple, efficient, and well suited for the production of oxygen and acetylene, in that it consists of a wood frame shell with roof ventilators, concrete floor and foundation, and large doors to admit vehicles and machinery.

Environmental value
The Gas House reinforces the corporate industrial character of this obsolete placer gold mining area. The building is located among the compound’s cluster of industrial buildings, which are loosely arranged around the central yard, and set within the unique landscape of tailing piles produced during dredging operations that stretch for miles around Bear Creek, into the Klondike River Valley.

Sources: Joan Mattie, Bear Creek Industrial Complex (38 Buildings), Bear Creek, Yukon. Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office Building Report 89-008; Gas House No.5, Bear Creek Industrial Complex, Bear Creek, Yukon. Heritage Character Statement 89-008.

Character-Defining Elements

The character-defining elements of the Gas House should be respected.

Its role as an illustration of the corporate mining phase of Klondike gold extraction in the early 20th century is reflected in: the building’s simple, functional design and materials that are consistent with its use and its frontier location.

Its utilitarian design and good quality materials as manifested in: the building’s simple, rectangular form and gable roofs; the gable roof’s boxed ventilators with pyramid roofs; the large double doors with horseshoe hinges; the efficient interior layout with areas for oxygen and acetylene production, storage of cylinders, and an office; the features purposely-designed to resist explosions including a concrete floor and foundation, and an interior lined with 26-gauge aluminum sheeting; the use of durable, utilitarian materials; original equipment including electrolysis tanks.

The building’s compatibility with the corporate industrial character of this obsolete placer gold mining area as evidenced in: its scale and materials; its location which is set back but part of the loose arrangement of buildings around the compound’s central yard.

Heritage Character Statement

Disclaimer - The heritage character statement was developed by FHBRO to explain the reasons for the designation of a federal heritage building and what it is about the building that makes it significant (the heritage character). It is a key reference document for anyone involved in planning interventions to federal heritage buildings and is used by FHBRO in their review of interventions.

Description of Historic Place

Gas House No.5 consists of a simple, two-storey, rectangular wood-frame structure with a one-storey lean-to sheathed in grey cove siding, white trim and corner boards, and a gable roof with roof ventilators. Located in the Bear Creek Compound, Gas House No.5 is one of a number of buildings loosely arranged around the compound’s central yard. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.

Heritage Value

Gas House No.5 is a “Recognized” Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.

Historical value:
Gas House No.5 is associated with the corporate phase of Klondike gold mining in the early 20th century. Built by the Yukon Consolidated Gold Company (YCGC) to produce the oxygen and acetylene used for arc welding and machinery repairs on the dredges, Gas House No.5 is also associated with the final operational phase of the Bear Creek Compound (1941-66) during which time only a few new buildings were erected.

Architectural value:
Gas House No.5 is a good example of a purpose-designed gas-generating building. Constructed of good quality, durable materials, the level of craftsmanship is consistent with a frontier situation and a mining community that was not intended to be permanent. Gas House No.5’s utilitarian design is simple, efficient, and well suited for the production of oxygen and acetylene, in that it consists of a wood frame shell with roof ventilators, concrete floor and foundation, and large doors to admit vehicles and machinery.

Environmental value:
Gas House No.5 reinforces the corporate industrial character of this obsolete placer gold mining area. The building is located among the Compound’s cluster of industrial buildings, which are loosely arranged around the central yard, and set within the unique landscape of tailing piles produced during dredging operations that stretch for miles around Bear Creek, into the Klondike River Valley.

Character-Defining Elements

The following character-defining elements of the Gas House No.2 should be respected:

Its role as an illustration of the corporate mining phase of Klondike gold extraction in the early 20th century is reflected in:
- the building’s simple, functional design and materials that are consistent with its use and its frontier location.

Its utilitarian design, and good quality materials as manifested in:
- the building’s simple, rectangular form and gable roofs;
- the gable roof’s boxed ventilators with pyramid roofs;
- the large double doors with horseshoe hinges;
- the efficient interior layout with areas for oxygen and acetylene production, storage of cylinders, and an office;
- the features purposely-designed to resist explosions including a concrete floor and foundation, and an interior lined with 26-gauge aluminum sheeting;
- the use of durable, utilitarian materials; and,
- original equipment including electrolysis tanks.

The building’s compatibility with the corporate industrial character of this obsolete placer gold mining area as evidenced in:
- its scale and materials;
- its location which is set back but part of the loose arrangement of buildings around the compound’s central yard.